This Is How You Lose the Time War

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Book - 2019
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HUGO AWARD WINNER: BEST NOVELLA

NEBULA AND LOCUS AWARDS WINNER: BEST NOVELLA

ONE OF NPR'S BEST BOOKS OF 2019

Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters--and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

In the ashes of a dying world, Red finds a letter marked "Burn before reading. Signed, Blue."

So begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents in a war that stretches through the vast reaches of time and space.

Red belongs to the Agency, a post-singularity technotopia. Blue belongs to Garden, a single vast consciousness embedded in all organic matter. Their pasts are bloody and their futures mutually exclusive. They have nothing in common--save that they're the best, and they're alone.

Now what began as a battlefield boast grows into a dangerous game, one both Red and Blue are determined to win. Because winning's what you do in war. Isn't it?

A tour de force collaboration from two powerhouse writers that spans the whole of time and space.
Publisher: New York :, Saga Press,, c2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781534431003
Branch Call Number: SF ELM
Characteristics: 198 pages ;,22 cm
Additional Contributors: Gladstone, Max

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JamesMallory
Dec 20, 2020

Wow -- I barely made it to the end of the first chapter, then quit because there didn't seem any point reading further. Totally not for me.

FPL_KendallN Dec 03, 2020

When you fall into this book, it's disorienting at first. What's happening? Where are we? But that's par for the course with sci-fi. However, this short novella is probably a bit more esoteric than your standard densely plotted sci-fi tome. Red and Blue travel through time, weaving in and out of the distant past and distant future setting things in the "right" direction for their respective employers' purposes, each on different sides of a war. The details of the time war remain vague and decidedly unimportant. What's important is that, as they weave in and out of time, Red and Blue find each other. This book is emotion first, with little plot. This is highly unusual in a genre typically defined by it's intricate plots and world-building. It will not be everyone's cup of tea. But if you read books for the feeling, and the language, and to contemplate what it means to be human, then this book is for you.

JCLCharlesH Nov 03, 2020

This punchy, spy drama, sci-fi/time travel romance novel stands out to me thanks to its character development. It dodges the "how-to" elements of hard science fiction time travel, and in doing so it liberates the story to evolve in a way that feels earned. Fast and enjoyable!

JCLHilaryS Oct 26, 2020

I picked this as a way to get more sci-fi into my reading. It does what a lot of sci-fi does - drops you into a world like no other. You can only understand how it operates by reading more. One of the reasons I don’t usually enjoy science fiction. But the letters - the letters were what kept me going. I vastly enjoyed reading this story, even though it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. My goal became getting to the next letter, to see how it was hidden & they were passed to each other. And, I loved seeing how they were addressed without using names.

c
Commacontrol
Oct 14, 2020

Amazing book. It's a science fiction story told through letters penned by two warring, time-travelling soldiers. And there's even some romance thrown in. It's unexpected and enthralling. I loved it and can understand why it won awards.

RyanR_KCMO Oct 13, 2020

I use the word delightful too much, but this was indeed a delightful story. More poetry than prose, this is the tale of two senior combatants in a time war where they jump through various timelines sewing seeds that will develop through time into strategic events. They identify with something in each other and begin leaving notes in time, a strange and beautiful correspondence across the ages and threads. This was a joy to read.

w
Wxin44_0
Aug 27, 2020

Romance disguised as Sci-Fi, really disappointed

n
nngrey
Aug 20, 2020

https://nebulas.sfwa.org/award-year/2019/

a
AlexN07
Jul 19, 2020

Welcome back to another episode of "I, your oblivious queer reviewer, don't realize stories are sapphic until I start them."

This Is How You Lose the Time War was recommended to my long before it came out from a friend I made via the library website (if you even stumble upon this because I'm guessing very few Alexes have been recommended this book through the hidden chat feature on library sites, sorry I stopped writing you back. In hindsight, we probably should have exchanged non-biblio social medias) when we got into a conversation about queer lit and I just always assumed her calling this 'gay' meant Red and Blue were both guys. I forgot all about it until hearing someone mention the title recently so imagine my sheer joy when a sentence in I found out Red is a she.

Not only are these poetic time travelling queers, they're POETIC TIME TRAVELLING LESBIANS! (Not that I would have been disappointed if they were guys, but the heart wants what the heart wants and mine wants more pining ladies.)

This is such a hard book to describe because there's no way to do it justice (not even necessarily because it's complicated. It's more like the authors are both far too intelligent for me to even begin to understand) but it's kind of enemies to lovers from two time travel agents leaving each other secret letters throughout space and time. Except I suppose it's not really them specifically who are enemies so maybe it's more "vague taunts to confessions of undying love"? I don't know. I just loved it.

JCLChrisK Jul 15, 2020

I am heartless and cold, so I am afraid the romance at the heart of this story never touched me. I didn't feel what the characters were meant to be feeling, and did not understand where the feelings came from. And while part of me could appreciate the exquisiteness of writing, another part felt there was far too much purple prose. This is a good book, just not my thing.

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